Relationships Australia Queensland recognises the significance of NAIDOC Week and this year we celebrate the 2016 NAIDOC Theme of Songlines: The living narrative of our nation.
For First Australians, Songlines represent the Ancient Creation Stories, the dreaming tracks made in the time of creator spirits, ‘ spiritual beings’ who roamed the land, sea and skies singing up the land, the waterways, oceans, seas and celestial bodies and seasons, calling all things into life, a time before humans inhabited the earth. Then as humans were formed in all of their diversity upon the continent they followed the great law to invoke these creation stories and Songlines through care of country, ceremonies, fire making, song, story, dance and body painting ,symbolic art or mark –making. Hence all things are renewed. In this way First Peoples ‘reconnect to country’, their bloodlines are honoured, healed and imbued with the spirit of creation.
The Songlines are like oral maps of the world known to First Australians. To this day these Songlines are ‘alive’. They mark out each of the clans ‘part of country’ or homelands and each Language Groups national boundaries and trade routes, places of significance and sacred places. These ‘dreaming tracks’ also incorporate, secular campsites, trading sites, physical landmarks like Mountains and rivers, forests, islands, ocean currents, and celestial bodies that assisted First Peoples to navigate across the lands and waters and ultimately signify the route to our spiritual home.
Whilst the years have come and gone and the landscapes of this continent have been wrought by changes with the coming of other Australians, industry and modern technology, our Songlines still reverberate across this continent known now as Australia. Like our homelands, First Australians lives have been reshaped, yet we adapt our lives to more recent laws and social institutions and lobby for our rights, our land and recognition of our customary laws. Working with the support of other Australians who believe in a fair and just society we retrieve, maintain and evolve our ceremonies, stories, dance and song and all forms of cultural expression, we strive to educate and to share our knowledge, history and culture and our land. We hold hope in our heart and continue to dream for a more sustainable and just society. We continue to work with a strong spirit, to build strong and positive relationships within our own communities with all Australians and invite everyone to celebrate NAIDOC Week with our communities across Queensland and wherever we live or travel in this land.
-- Debra Bennet is the Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs at Relationships Australia Qld
If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and would like to connect with us for culturally sensitive support, please phone 1300 364 277 to be directed to your nearest venue.